How Do I Meet New People as an Adult?

A lot of people (myself included) often wonder how to meet new people as adults. As a child the interactions were facilitated and it seemed easier, but as adults it’s still possible – we just have to do more work to get the same results.

Here are some things you can do to facilitate friendship:

Attend Meetups

One thing I’ve learned about meetups is that to make the lasting friendships there, you can’t just show up and leave. You have to stay until the end, see who’s still around, and then ask them to go get a beer or a coffee afterwards. In that way, you’ll create a much deeper, longer lasting relationship with someone that could become a friendship.

Indianapolis Marketing Meetup

Change Habits

Pick one habit to change such as your drive home. For example, instead of driving straight home, stop at a park and walk around. If you see someone there, talk to them. If you are the first person to leave work, be the last person to leave and engage in a deeper conversation with one new person. If you always take the same streets home, purposefully take a different path and pay attention to what you see. You might find a new place to hang out (and meet new people).

Or, instead of driving to work, see if there is a way to carpool, walk, or ride a bike to work. You could also wake up one hour earlier than normal and be the first person in a local coffee shop in the morning. If you don’t know the name of the barista or checkout person at the gas station, ask them their name and tell them yours. The next time you are there, greet them by name.

By making slight changes to your daily habits, you can cause unknown, unintended, changes (like the butterfly effect) that will lead you down a different path than the one you’re on now. In addition to small changes in your actions, here are some pretty standard things you can do to “meet new people” and “make friends.”

  1. Be thankful for the life you already have.
  2. When someone asks you to do something you wouldn’t normally do, consider doing it this time.
  3. Join a local church.
  4. Find a local meetup on meetup.com.
  5. Start a new habit and do something consistently to see who else is doing that same thing consistently. Talk to that person.
  6. Help someone younger than you or older than you without expecting to get paid.
  7. Look for ways to volunteer.
  8. Join a coworking facility.
  9. Consistently visit a bar or coffee shop at a certain time.
  10. Be the friend you want to have – invite other people to lunch with you, tell other people what you are doing and invite them to join you, throw a party at your house or apartment, rent out a gym and play some dodgeball, join a softball or kickball league, play a pick-up basketball game at the local park.

To do the things you’re not doing now, you’re going to have to do the things you’re not doing now. That means taking a different path through life, doing things a little bit differently, going places you normally don’t go, doing things you normally don’t do – and being consistent about it.

People who don’t have a clue what they want in life usually don’t know themselves very well. We all like to live in our comfort zones. Same life, friends and activities for years. We think that when we are more comfortable that we are more happy. But the key to happiness may be in getting out of your comfort zone.

The key is to throw yourself in situations which are out of your comfort zone. Go on a trip somewhere obscure, preferably alone. Take some odd job, Do crazy stuff. Break your barriers. Don’t just sit and think about what your passions are. Go find them.

When you do things that normally isn’t you, you will discover what truly is you.

It can be very difficult to get out of our comfort zones – they are comfortable after all. But comfort does not equate to happiness. I think we tend to believe that we know who we are, when in reality we have settled for what we are currently because we are afraid to get out of our comfort zones.

The best part about getting outside of your comfort zone is that it gives you one of the greatest feelings that money cannot buy: Appreciation. We are all aware that we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone, but that understanding hits a lot harder when we experience it first hand.

Why is it so hard to make friends as an adult?

As one New York Times article stated, “As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other”, which are things school and college are perfect for. The people at work would be the next best thing, but aren’t always the pool of people you’d necessarily want to be friends with (sometimes).

But there are other ways to get these types of interactions – frequenting a coffee shop or bar, church, or meetups that other like-minded people also frequent – all take care of those points. When we are little we make friends where we find them. Do you live next door? You’re my friend. Do you sit next to me at school? You’re my friend. Generally we have similar, but limited interests. But as an adult we filter out the people we don’t agree with politically, socially, or for other reasons. By the time we get to the few people left there’s a very small pool of potential friends via self-selection.

It may not be that it actually gets any harder to make friends as you get older, rather that you get better attuned to what you want in a friend.

As an adult I only hang out with people that I actually like and who I feel a mutual sense of value with: they bring something good to my life, I feel I bring something good to theirs. It takes time to find people like that, but it’s worth the effort.

The Best Times of Your Life

In the last episode of The Office, Andy Bernard says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ole’ days before you’ve actually left them.”

The Best Times of Your Life

Have you ever wondered if the best times of your life are behind you? How do you know when you’re in the best times of your life? How do you know if there are still good times to come?

I remember sitting with my best friend, eating pizza, and watching TV while laying back in our recliners. My friend turned to me and asked, “What if this is the best time of our lives and it’s all downhill from here?” The year was 2001 and shortly after we each lost our jobs, moved apart, and September 11th happened. Things change.

What if there isn’t one best time in your life, but “episodes of greatness” – pockets of time in different times of your life that can be considered the best times of that era?

While there are many years I cannot consider the best times of my life, I’ve had many periods I consider the best parts of my life. Those episodes always include the following factors:

  • Actively spending time with people I love
  • Basic needs are met (ie. secure job and location)
  • Working on a project or something bigger than myself

If you’re wondering if your best times are behind you, look at what made those times great and vehemently seek out those same conditions in the future. If your friends or family don’t have time for you, first make time for them, but seek out new experiences. Get out of your comfort zone. Eventually the new zone will become comfortable too.

If your basic needs aren’t being met, first make sure you are safe and that you have reliable housing and income. That’s easy to say and sometimes very hard to do. I understand. But realize that things do get better through incremental progress, even if it’s slow. Make one change a month and you’ll be a completely different person in a year.

If you aren’t working towards any big goals or are aren’t part of a team working on something bigger than yourself, it’s hard to feel fulfilled in life. Not everyone can find their purpose in life, but you can make an effort to work purposefully, and through that work, feel fulfilled and happy. It could be one of the best times of your life.

The Epic Generation: From the Garden to the City

“You know I always wanted to pretend that I was an architect.” – George Costanza, Seinfeld

Nathan Norris recently wrote an article entitled, “Why Generation Y is Causing the Great Migration of the 21st Century” about ‘under 30’s’ moving into the cities and driving less – the new migration into urban spaces. Norris writes, “At the same time, television shifted from glorifying the surburban lifestyle in the 1960’s and 1970’s (e.g., Leave it to Beaver and the Brady Bunch) to glorifying the urban lifestyle in the 1990’s (e.g., Seinfeld and Friends). These cultural changes have pushed Generation Y to look for more adventure than previous generations, and they are less fearful of cities than previous generations.”

I forwarded it to a friend and he wrote, “Art (used loosely here) imitating life or vice versa?”

I wrote that I’ve been watching the TEDtalks “Building Wonder” curated channel on Netflix, which is mostly about architecture and it’s seemed to correlate with conversations I’ve had with him (in the past and recently) about the desire to be part of a community like Bloomington, Broad Ripple, or Nora. We sort of had that community in high school, now that I think about it, with Benjamin’s Coffee House or even to a small extent at Heiskell’s Restaurant (at the height of our takeover). We also had it at church and at college and we also had it for a time in Daleville (before the breakup began). Community is what you make of it – but physical constraints help.

This “art” reference he mentioned made me wonder if I haven’t been yearning after that ‘public living room’ that Friends had in that apartment or Jerry’s apartment. People came and went as they pleased. There were four locks on the door, but they were never locked. They also had that other space, the coffee shop down below – Seinfeld had it with the diner. In Daleville, we had La Hacienda and Starbucks. We knew the people working there and they new us. Remember when George found the rubber band in his soup and playfully sprang it back to the cook who left it there? I think we all long for that sort of community where we all know each other on that level.

Another friend wrote in reply, “I think it has to be ‘art’ imitating life. It isn’t like Seinfeld or Friends glorified New York as the central scene where all things are happening – that had already been the prevailing public opinion since at least the 1920’s. Although, I don’t think it is “imitating” so much as it is a broadcast company’s calculated offering of what the public will find interesting or novel. Green Acres wasn’t about the country, it was about the voyeuristic experience of someone foolishly leaving the wonders of the big city for the country – adding in the tension of the couple having different perspectives.. Beverly Hillbillies was about the opposite – people who don’t. belong in the wonderful urban/suburban area and the comedic tension. Andy Griffith played on the mundane and simpleton of the small-town, where previously there wasn’t any television that was centered on a “watch the paint dry” town. By and large, I think TV producers expect there to be curiosity and reverence for NY and LA from outsiders and appreciation from those who live there. Other than a few shows who are using the difference in location as a position separator or as central to the theme – shows and movies have generally been based in NY/LA/Other large metro.”

Here’s the list of TED Talks for those of you who don’t have Netflix:

1 Bjarke Ingels: Three Warp-Speed Architecture Tales 18m

2 Thomas Heatherwick: Building the Seed Cathedral 16m

3 William McDonough on Cradle to Cradle Design 19m

4 Cameron Sinclair on Open-Source Architecture 23m

5 Joshua Prince-Ramus on Seattle’s Library 19m

6 Liz Diller Plays with Architecture 19m

7 Alex Steffen: The Shareable Future of Cities 10m

8 James H. Kunstler Dissects Suburbia 19m

9 Kamal Meattle on How to Grow Fresh Air 4m

10 Jane Poynter: Life in Biosphere 2 15m

11 Anupam Mishra: The Ancient Ingenuity of Water Harvesting 17m

12 Mitchell Joachim: Don’t Build Your Home, Grow It! 2m

13 Rachel Armstrong: Architecture That Repairs Itself? 7m

14 Joshua Prince-Ramus: Building a Theater That Remakes Itself 18m

15 Magnus Larsson: Turning Dunes into Architecture 11m

16 Michael Pawlyn: Using Nature’s Genius in Architecture 13m

17 Ellen Dunham-Jones: Retrofitting Suburbia 19m